Why Dogs Dig Holes in the Yard

Dogs that live permanently in the house or apartment love to play pranks. What are the peeled wallpaper, bitten wires, or the owner’s shoes worn out? But they are not lagged behind by street brothers – dogs that live in the yards of private households or in summer cottages. These four-legged comrades tirelessly dig in the ground, as if looking for some kind of treasure.

In this article, we will try to understand why dogs dig holes, as well as find out how you can combat this outrageous habit. Why outrageous? Yes, because, firstly, the dug up garden looks unattractive, and secondly, the dog often digs holes, harming the plants that grow on the site.

Why dogs love to dig holes

There are many reasons why a dog digs holes in the yard. We will list the most basic ones:

  • The animal has a hard time tolerating heat, digging a hole for cooling. Even if the surface layer of the earth is hot from the sun, then already at a shallow depth the earth is cool enough. In an earthen depression, an animal exhausted by the heat can rest a little. If a dog digs a hole and lies down in it, then this is a clear sign that it is very hot;
  • Burrowing hunting dogs can search the site in search of prey – moles, mice, hamsters, ground squirrels. Dachshunds, as well as various varieties of terriers (scotch terriers, fox terriers, cairn terriers, etc.), are considered to be passionate about digging holes;
  • The dog digs holes near the booth, hiding excess food or the most delicious pieces for a “rainy day”, burying them in the ground. After a certain time, the animal tears apart the “yummy” hidden in the ground and eats it (and poisoning is not excluded here);
  • Sometimes digging holes is a kind of burst of energy. Digging is an excellent physical education for especially active animals, which are rarely taken for a walk outside the yard;
  • A dog can dig holes in certain places if it is attracted by the smell of the soil. This happens, for example, when the owners use bone meal (from the bones of cattle or fish) – an organic fertilizer to feed plants;
  • There are dogs who literally search the site out of boredom and loneliness. Thus, they seek to attract the master’s attention. They seem to want to say: “Hey, look, master, I have absolutely nothing to occupy myself with, play with me!”;
  • Animals dig furiously in times of stress. At the same time, pets can look both unusually excited and apathetic. Under stress, the level of appetite can change in dogs (from a complete refusal of food to gluttony), behavior also changes, and not for the better (the pet can show aggression, howl, constantly whine, be overly intrusive, etc.). In such situations, the help of a specialist is needed;
  • It also happens that the dog digs exclusively beds with root crops (potatoes, carrots, beets, etc.) with a lack of fiber, which is abundant in plant foods;
  • A pregnant dog can dig holes in the yard, thereby providing her future puppies with a rookery in the form of depression in the ground.

Methods for dealing with dog digging

It is absolutely certain that no owner will be delighted if his yard looks like a battle range dotted with pits. But what if the dog digs holes? The most important thing is to be patient, by trial and error trying to wean your four-legged friend from digging up the site:

  1. The dog must be taught the simplest commands (“fu”, “no”, “place”). As soon as the animal starts digging the ground, you should loudly and severely call out to him and say a forbidding command (for example, “Fu, Tuzik, you can’t!”);


  2. It is permissible to scold an animal for digging up the earth, but only in hot pursuit. If several hours, or even days, have passed since the moment of digging the earth, then it is useless to scold the dog. The pet simply does not understand why the strict owner is scolding him. But in no case can you use beatings, even if the yard is all in pits and potholes;


  3. You should give your dog enough attention. But there are owners who live in private houses with garden plots, who believe that the animal can run around in the yard, that it is not at all necessary to take it outside the gate. But it’s not right. Any dog ​​should be taken out for a walk twice a day, and the duration of each promenade should be at least 1 hour (in bad weather, the walking time can be halved). It is desirable that during the walk the pet has time to run and communicate with its fellows – other dogs;


  4. The dog needs to buy or make his own toys that will help brighten up his leisure time while the owner is busy;


  5. Sometimes buying another animal can solve the problem of digging holes. But this is only reasonable if the old-time dog has a friendly and non-jealous character. During joint games, two doggies will not have time to dig the garden plot;


  6. Does the dog dig the ground and eat the roots? Her diet should include plant foods (carrots, beets, pumpkin, zucchini, etc.);


  7. If the dog digs holes only in the heat, then in order to escape from the heat, it is advisable to install a small pool, an iron trough or an old bath in the garden, filling them with water so that the animal can splash a little. Also, near the dog’s booth, you can lay out a wet cloth on which the pet will be happy to rest. If the house has a split system, it is advisable to run the dog into a chilled room at least in the hottest hours (from 12 to 15 noon);


  8. If the size of the garden allows, it is advisable to set aside a small area (for example, a 2 x 2 meter square) in which the dog can be allowed to dig holes. The animal should be praised and treated whenever it starts digging in a permitted area. Over time, the dog will understand that digging is permissible only where the owner allowed;


  9. You can wean a dog from digging holes like this: bury a tasty fresh bone shallowly into the ground along with an inflated balloon. The dog, who has felt the smell of the bone, will begin to quickly remove it from the ground, by all means hooking the ball with its claw. The ball will burst with a loud and frightening sound, which in the future will surely discourage the pet from digging the earth;


  10. Usually, dogs have one or more favorite places in the garden for digging. In such places “x” you can install garden sprinklers, which will irrigate those areas that are especially loved by the dog;


  11. Asphalting the yard or laying the ground with slabs, stones, rubble can radically solve the problem of digging. But this is relevant only if the owner does not use the land for its intended purpose (i.e. does not plant trees, flowers, vegetables, fruits on it);


  12. If the dog digs under the fence, then an iron mesh netting can be dug into the ground along the perimeter of the yard to a shallow depth of about 10-15 cm. The animal, in contact with the iron obstacle, is unlikely to continue digging;


  13. Burying an unpleasant smelling object underground is one of the best ways to stop your dog from digging holes. You can bury rags soaked in kerosene, chlorine, solvent, citrus essential oil in your favorite digging places. Also, ground red pepper or tobacco poured into the pit can scare off from digging;


  14. If your dog is digging holes in search of prey, it is important to get rid of rodents in the yard. But not with the poison! So, for example, it will not harm the dog, but the ultrasonic repeller will drive moles and mice from the site;


  15. Many gardeners tinker in the ground almost every day (remove weeds, loosen and dig up the ground, make holes for planting seeds, etc.). It is best to carry out such manipulations, not in front of the dog. An animal can easily take as an example the actions of its owner, imitating him (that is, picking the ground);


  16. If the owner has enough free time, you can keep an eye on the dog that regularly digs holes in the yard. As soon as the dog starts his bad business, you can whistle loudly on the whistle. An unpleasant harsh sound will surely scare off the animal, which is more likely to stop digging in the ground. You will have to whistle every time the dog starts digging holes.
Alice White

Written by Alice White

Alice White, a devoted pet lover and writer, has turned her boundless affection for animals into a fulfilling career. Originally dreaming of wildlife, her limited scientific background led her to specialize in animal literature. Now she happily spends her days researching and writing about various creatures, living her dream.

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